Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hakuho: the Gentleman Sumotori

(In English and in French)

Sumotori Hakuho sama whose real name is Munkhbat
Davaajargal is the fourth foreign wrestler to be
promoted to Sumo’s highest rank as "Yokozuna" (Grand
Champion) following Asashoryu and Hawaiians Akebono
and Musashimaru. He attended a remarkable press
conference luncheon in Tokyo yesterday at my press

I tested his push and I certainly see a bright future
for this extraordinary young man, whose strength
endurance and power also accommodate a real kindness
and gentleman's behavior.

After the luncheon event, I came to chat with him, and
I asked him to give me a push same as in the Sumo
ring, my first ever attempt to confront in a kindly
manner a Great Champion. He naturally hesitated but
played a smart move and while I was literally
propelled away he also kindly caught me back with his
hands as you can see on this extraordinary picture
seized by a fellow journalist colleague. We went into
a long laughter after that, being filmed by a
Japanese TV.

Having experience of Martial or Combat arts like in
Judo,Tae Kwon Do or fencing I had never experienced
the speed and the push of sumo before: "Terrassant"!

Hakuho and his compatriot Asashoryu, who has won 23
titles, have dominated sumo in recent years and there
has not been a Japanese winner of a title since
January 2006 when Tochiazuma lifted the Emperor’s Cup.

Some sumo traditionalists worry that Japan is being
left behind in its own national sport. There hasn’t
been a Japanese grand champion since Takanohana
retired in January 2003. There is a move by some in
sumo to restrict the number of foreign participants.
Hakuho is one of nine Mongolians wrestling in sumo’s
top division and one of 15 foreign wrestlers in the
elite class.

I’d like to see more foreign wrestlers allowed in but
it’s not my decision.” “The fans should be allowed to
see the best in the world,”
said Hakuho, who won his
10th Emperor’s Cup at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament
last month. While the rules are not clearly defined,
each sumo stable is allowed one foreign wrestler and
there are 53 stables.

Grand champion Hakuho wants to see sumo opened up to
more foreign wrestlers and hopes Japan’s ancient sport
will someday be included in the Olympics but knows it
is an uphill battle.

“I’d be really happy if it became an Olympic sport and
would try to do better than my father,”
Hakuho said
that the International Sumo Federation has been
pushing to get sumo in the Olympics but its not on the
list of sports under consideration for inclusion on
the 2016 Olympic program.

Hakuho’s father won a silver medal in freestyle
wrestling at the 1968 Summer Olympics.


Le "bizutage" des académies de sumo était peu connu
jusqu’à ce que le champion mongol Hakuho ne lève le
voile sur ces pratiques taboues. Des bizutages de
titans où tout le monde envoie du lourd. «Je pleurais
tous les jours»
, avoue le sumotori qui aurait été
victime de longues séances de tabassage à ses débuts.
«Quand vous me voyez maintenant, j'ai l'air heureux,
mais à ce moment-là, je ne l’étais pas»
, raconte le
colosse de 1,92 m pour 154 kg, devenu l'un des plus
grands lutteurs depuis son arrivée au Japon à l’âge de
15 ans, et ses 60 kg d'alors.

Ses révélations interviennent au moment où un ancien
maître est jugé pour la mort de son apprenti sous les
coups. Certaines séances de tabassage pouvaient durer
jusqu'à 45 minutes. "Les 20 premières minutes sont
incroyablement douloureuses, mais après (...), même si
vous continuez à être frappé, vous sentez moins la
, explique-t-il en choisissant ses mots avec
précaution comme "encouragement affectueux".

Celui dont le nom signifie «le grand oiseau blanc» est
l’une des plus grandes stars du Japon. L’un des deux
seuls yokozuna (le grade le plus élevé de la
discipline), avec son compatriote Asashoryu. Il
témoigne près de deux ans après la mort de Takashi
Saito, frappé à mort par son maître à coups de
bouteille et par trois sumotoris plus âgés armés de
battes de base-ball.

"Une minorité de lutteurs" conclut Hakuho.

Un moment unique passé avec notre Sumo favori,
authentique où l'on a vu que le géant et ses amis
athlètes savent aussi marcher sur des oeufs, avec
élégance. Il lui faudra prochainement démontrer ses
talents face au Sumo Asashoryu bien connu pour ses
tactiques un peu "raides" selon les spécialistes des

(Reportage et agences)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Governor Ishihara Shintaro: Olympic 2016 Tokyo is better qualified than any other city!

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara believes that the Japanese capital is the most appropriate to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games because of its long commitment to peace.

He also said interesting things in these days of financial constraint: Asking to a Foreign Correspondent in Tokyo what Japan should do to avoid financial difficulties, the veteran journalist tells: "Japan should stop buying American treasury notes". Governor Ishihara answered "we do not need to buy American bonds." (Watch the Youtube segment clicking the title of this posted report)

[Recorded at the FCCJ, Tokyo, during a press luncheon where other topics were discussed such as Tokyo bid for 2016 Olympics.]

"The Olympics are the world's biggest event aimed at promoting peace and harmony for all humankind. In that sense, Tokyo is better qualified than any other city," Ishihara said in a press conference on Wednesday in Tokyo hosted by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. As for the threat to its financial state, Japan's capital has the central government's guarantee to finance Tokyo Games. That is an important IOC precondition, but Ishihara said that Tokyo currently sees no need to make use of it.

Known for his radical nationalist view, Ishihara shrugged off the recent threat posed by North Korea's launch of what it claimed to be a satellite rocket. "I think there was too much fuss raised on this issue," the governor said.

He does not believe Pyongyang's act would be a threat to hosting the Olympic Games or to the safety of the people with the level of military technology that the Stalinist state may possess, he said. Ishihara referred to the reports from the United States and South Korea that no satellite was confirmed in the orbit.

Even if its technological development was more advanced, North Korea would not be able to make use of it because it would face retaliation. "They (North Korea) can't execute that technology," Ishihara said. "So how could that be the threat to Japan? The main purpose of North Korea was to restore the bilateral dialogue with the United States. There is no other motive." He also stated that he does not believe that the US would spend blood to defend Japan in case of serious emergency in spite of the US Japan military treaty.